Incipio Hive Response
Platform: iPhone 4/s
Price: $29.99 Buy it Here
The release of the iPhone sent ripples through the mobile gaming industry and forever changed the face of mobile gaming. Nintendo and Sony suddenly felt a little crowded, like when Microsoft entered the console wars. Although some hardcore gamers would be quick to decry mobile phones as a “casual” game platform, it has become obvious that iOS and Android devices are here to stay. The only problem with gaming on a small phone is design. The device are designed to be as small and sleek as possible for casual use. Long-term use can lead to hand cramps. Enter Incipio with their Hive Response case.
The Hive Response is a two-piece case comprising of a silicone core for impact protection and a rigid polycarbonate frame that clips onto the centre of the phone. The case comes in three colour combinations, black/black, white/dark grey, and white/turquoise. A free Incipio Vanity Kit containing a screen protector, cleaning cloth, and applicator card is included to improve the value of the case.
The silicone core is a thick covering that has two large bumps on the back of the case on the top and the bottom. These bumps mimic the ergonomics of a console controller when the iPhone is held horizontally. The bumps are large enough to be noticeably more comfortable to hold but not so large that it is difficult to put into a pocket. The silicone material used is extremely thick, making this a perfect case for the extremely clumsy gamer. The case is named the Hive Response because the silicone has honeycomb shaped cut-outs provide a strong but light structure. I found myself comfortably using the iPhone for without any hand cramps with this case.
The biggest problem with the case stems from the silicone core. It quite literally stinks to high heaven. The scent is the unfortunate cross of ground cumin and body odour. I found this to be incredibly strange considering silicone is supposed to be inert and tends to smell like nothing. The silicone has a very powdery feel to the case, so I assumed maybe it was some sort of left over material from manufacturing that was causing this unpleasant scent. I rolled up my sleeves and gave the silicone core a good scrubbing with some soap and hot water. After a few washes and some time, the smell was a little less intense, but was definitely still there. Since silicone is usually odourless, I am left to wonder what material the Hive Response is actually made from.
The polycarbonate backing is provides rigidity for the case. It only covers the middle half of the case. The polycarbonate backing seems to hold the silicone case in place and provide a comfortable area to rest the fingers on. It will not add much to the already excellent protection for impact and scratches.
Installing the case is simple for the most parts. The silicone core slips onto the iPhone with a slightly loose fit. It is not loose enough that it will fall off without the polycarbonate backing. In fact, the case could very easily be used without the back clip. Next, line up the plastic piece so the hole on the right side lines up with the raised rectangle with the Incipio lettering and snap the other side of the plastic part in. It is a relatively easy install, but because the silicone is a little on the looser side, the plastic piece has a tendency to stretch the silicone core. I had to wiggle the plastic piece a little and push in stray parts of silicone into place to get the perfect fit. Once the case was installed, there were zero issues of the case coming apart as the plastic piece’s fit is extremely tight.
The case’s coverage is extremely good. The Hive Response has extra thick pieces of silicone on the corners of the device cut in a very high tech looking angle. Short of dropping the phone face down onto the corner of a desk, this case will survive extremely rough treatment. There is an extremely generous lip on the case that covers a small portion of the phone’s front face. This lip will help keep the phone from being scratched when rested face down on a dirty surface.
The buttons on the phone are covered. There is a raised imprint for each button. The volume buttons have a very decent button cut out, however I found the sleep button could have had a larger raised cut out. Because of its location, the cut out for the vibrate switch is extremely deep. This can become a problem for people with extremely wide fingers. I have extremely small hands compared to the average North American person and I noticed my thumbs struggled a little to reach the vibrate switch, forcing me to use another finger.
The cut out for the 30 pin dock connector, camera, and speakers are sized perfectly. The case will accept almost any 30-pin cable. Unfortunately, due to the thickness of the case, the case is not compatible with any docks. The headphone cut out is one of the largest I have seen. The Hive Response is one of the few cases that accepted every single headphone cable I owned, from the tiny official iPhone ear buds to the extremely large cables on my Shure SE215 and AKG Q701s.
The Hive Response is one of those cases that are difficult to score. On one hand, it is a comfortable case to hold that provides an incredible amount of drop protection. It looks high tech and manages to stay light due to the honeycomb design. As advertised, it is comfortable for extended gaming sessions. On the other hand, this case literally stinks. I do not know many people who fine the scent of cumin pleasant. I personally love food with cumin in it, but the smell of the case still manages to annoy me. I really have no idea if this is an isolated issue. So, if you are a heavy iPhone gamer looking for a comfortable case, I recommend purchasing it from a retailer with a return policy. At least that way you can return the case if you find yours smelling like cumin.
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